Microsoft Power Pages

Power Pages: What Is It and When Should I Use It?

The rise of Power Pages is impressive. After Microsoft bought it in 2015, it evolved from a small addition to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement into a major product within the Power Platform. Now, standing alongside Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate, Power Pages regularly attracts new users.

However, it’s not always suitable for every project, even those focused on low-code web application development. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of Power Pages, key features, and examples of use to help you decide if it is right for your project.

What is Microsoft Power Pages?

Microsoft Power Pages is a low-code SaaS platform that is perfect for building and launching business websites. It falls under Power Apps and makes it easy to create, host, and manage secure websites aimed at external users.

As a separate SaaS platform on the Power Apps infrastructure, Power Pages provides scalability, top-notch hosting, and advanced tools for website customisation. It supports integration with GitHub, Visual Studio Code Power Platform CLI, and Azure DevOps, allowing experienced users to automate their development processes and use CI/CD practices.

Microsoft has launched Power Pages Copilot, introducing next-generation AI to Power Pages. Now, users can use natural language to quickly generate text, detailed forms, and chatbots, speeding up the process of building data-centric websites.

How Power Pages Enhances Your Website-Building Experience

Microsoft Power Pages lets businesses create external websites with little or no coding. You don’t need to know HTML, JavaScript, CSS, or Liquid. However, you can use these programming languages for more complex sites through the code editor and code components.

To build a website with Microsoft Power Pages, there are no settings to adjust or roles to assign. Just get an additional license or sign up for a 30-day trial to start making your website easily.

Instead of retyping a link to see your website on a mobile device, Microsoft Power Pages lets you scan a QR code. This sends an email with a preview link, which you can open on your mobile device.

Benefits of Using Microsoft Power Pages

Power Pages simplifies website development, making it less complex, expensive, and time-consuming than traditional methods. It offers custom development with minimal coding, automatic updates, and security support for quick business site launches. Here are its main advantages over conventional website development:

  • If you already use Microsoft products, developing your website within the Microsoft ecosystem allows easy integration with the cloud-based Dataverse ecosystem. This enables data sharing, collaboration, and consistent user experiences across Microsoft tools and platforms.
  • Being a part of the Power Platform enables the use of all other products for a complete solution.
  • Enjoy advanced site security features from Microsoft Azure, like Front Door, Azure DDoS Protection, and web application firewalls, with Power Pages to keep your website secure.
  • Access to a wide range of professionally designed templates and layouts makes creating attractive websites faster and easier.
  • Websites built with Power Pages can scale to manage more traffic and integrate new functions over time, allowing customisation to meet your business and brand needs.
  • Power Pages offers regular website stability and reliability updates, removing the need for manual updates.
  • For those using Microsoft Azure, Office 365, or Dynamics 365, developing business websites in the Microsoft ecosystem means better integrating these services and improving site functionality and performance.
  • Microsoft Dataverse allows for secure integration of external enterprise data, enabling developers to easily sync and share data from different sources and quickly build websites in desired formats.
  • Developers can securely use Power Automate cloud flows from webpages via APIs for powerful automation capabilities on business websites.
  • These benefits lead to a faster, more streamlined development process, improved website functionality, and a more unified digital experience.

How Do Power Pages Fit Into the Microsoft Power Platform?

Creating your website is only the beginning. You can connect your Power Pages-built professional website with other Microsoft Power Platform components. This integration makes business operations more efficient and secure.

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

When creating Power Pages, consider adding a bot to interact with customers or employees on your site. This bot can answer common questions or engage in more detailed conversations to address issues. However, Microsoft advises against using bots for medical diagnoses, advice, or emergencies.

Power Virtual Agents can assist with employee benefit queries and customer service issues, providing operation hours, store details, sales assistance, and answering FAQs. Building Power Pages and creating Microsoft Power Virtual Agent bots is straightforward, without needing developers or data scientists.

Microsoft Dataverse

Website builders often use databases to store business information. Dataverse, previously known as Common Data Service, is a cloud-based service that acts like a database but also offers security, analytics, and automation. Power Page sites can connect to Dataverse.

Microsoft Power Automate

Once your Power Pages website is built, you can automate tedious and time-consuming tasks. This includes automating login procedures, navigation, and data entry by connecting to data sources. You can automate actions like navigating websites to download or upload files, monitoring page loads, opening or closing tabs or windows, filling out web forms, emailing notifications for file uploads, and sending automatic reminders for overdue tasks.

Power Automate, a component of the Power Platform, can be installed on your Power Pages website without needing much coding, thanks to a wide selection of templates based on your needs.

Microsoft Power BI

This Power Platform component focuses on sharing important business information with relevant parties. Users can create reports, dashboards, or Excel spreadsheets and share them with authorised individuals to monitor updates. Power BI consists of several elements: the Power BI service, Power BI Desktop, mobile apps, APIs, report builder, report server, and publish feature.

Users can create reports with Power BI Desktop, while others can view these reports on mobile apps. The Power BI service connects these elements and data sources. Power BI content can be easily embedded into Power Pages for interactive user engagement through Power BI Publish.

Microsoft Power Apps

With a Power App, you can create canvas apps from scratch on your Power Page. You can design apps using a blank canvas and drag-and-drop components like checkboxes, dropdown lists, text fields, date fields, sliders, search fields, and icons to create user interfaces. These canvas apps enable employees to focus and efficiently complete tasks with little to no coding experience required. The interfaces you create will operate on any device, including desktops, phones, and tablets.

It’s also possible to create model-driven apps, which are ideal for customised business needs that focus on workflows or processes rather than a single task. You create these by connecting to data sources, with the user interface elements being shaped by the selected data, though they can be edited as needed. Building model-driven apps is more complex than building canvas apps but offers more value for complex business processes.

build professional and secure websites

Key Features and Elements of Microsoft Power Pages

Power Pages lets you easily build professional, secure websites with default templates or select from industry-specific starter templates. Here’s a quick summary of Power Pages features:

Design Studio

The Design Studio lets users easily create modern, responsive websites for businesses without coding. You can use drag-and-drop to organise page elements and customise components to fit your brand. This tool reduces the need for coding skills and speeds up website creation.

The Templates Hub

Select pre-designed templates, layouts, and styles to start your website development quickly. These templates are customisable to fit your business needs and brand guidelines.

The Learning Hub

This resource offers tutorials, documentation, and guides on every important aspect of website development with Power Pages. It’s suitable for both beginners and those seeking advanced methods. The Learning Hub provides the necessary knowledge and skills to build an effective business website.

Data Modeling and Visualization

Data workspace enables easy integration of websites with databases and APIs for dynamic content. You can show live data models, build interactive visuals, and provide tailored experiences to users.

Advanced Development Capabilities

Power Pages allow developers to build strong business websites using top professional tools. The code editor lets developers add or modify code for detailed customisations. The Visual Studio Code extension provides more advanced features, making it easier for developers to use their current skills and tools.

Application Lifecycle Management

Power Pages works with pro code platforms such as GitHub and Azure DevOps, allowing smooth integration for managing the application lifecycle. It supports easy collaboration between creators and developers, enabling effective version control, fast bug tracking, and efficient continuous integration and deployment.

Enhanced Security and Governance

CIOs’ top priority when launching external websites that expose business data is security. Power Pages provides advanced security features, including Azure Web Application Firewall integration.

It allows creators and site admins to control site visibility during development and public launch. A Go-live checklist offers recommendations before the site goes live. It also supports site responsiveness improvement through a Content Delivery Network (CDN) powered by Azure Front Door.

Examples of How to Use Power Pages

Power Pages allows for low-code web development not just for simple projects but also supports large, enterprise-scale professional solutions.

FAQ Sites

It enables customers and partners to find answers to frequently asked questions about products, services, special events, policies, and procedures. Content administrators can structure the information by topic, subtopic, and article, making it easy for users to locate the answers they seek.

Customer Self-service Helpdesk

The self-service site gives customers around-the-clock access to help and information. They can check on warranty registration, returns, support questions, appointments, and bookings anytime. It also lets staff submit and track IT support tickets. Employees can open new tickets, see their ongoing ones, and use the company’s knowledge base.

Community Portals

It enables system administrators to create community portals for specific groups. It is useful for self-service permitting, licensing, incident reporting, outage reporting, and grant applications.

Partner Support

The partner support site simplifies how organisations manage workflows with resellers, distributors, and partners. It’s useful for supplier onboarding, sustainability tracking, and vendor support. The site provides instant access to all stages of shared activities in one location, helping companies streamline their business processes.

Schedule and Manage Meetings

It enables customers, partners, and staff to set up websites for scheduling meetings, booking events, services, or resources on a secure platform.

Employee Self-Service Portal

It functions as a self-service portal focused on employees, aiming to build an efficient and informed workforce. Employees can use the site to access knowledge articles and post comments and feedback on important topics.

Order Returns

It streamlines the order return process. Customers can request returns, check the status of these requests, view their return history, and track their refund status.

Application Processing

It can create portals for submitting applications, registrations, or scheduling. Examples are websites for building permits, after-school programs, and financial meeting scheduling. These use pages, forms, and tables that can be tailored to fit your project needs.

How Can Microsoft Power Pages Help Your Business

Power Pages simplifies website building more than Microsoft Power Portal, requiring minimal or no coding. But you can still use coding for added complexity. Power Page, as part of the Power Platform, lets you integrate all necessary features into your website.

External users can securely access data and information. Including Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI in your Power Pages website improves business efficiency and user interaction.

With Power Virtual Agent, you can also add bots to your site, improving communication with customers or employees. Dataverse connects all Power Platform components, making your business operate smoothly on the Microsoft cloud.

FAQs

How to start with Power Pages?

To start with Power Pages, create an account on their website. After signing up, use the Power Pages Design Studio to build your website. You can pick a template or design your site from scratch. For guidance, check the Learning Hub. You can include Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI to add more features. If you need assistance, look at the FAQs or contact support.

How does Power Pages licensing work?

Power Pages licensing is simple. You pay a monthly fee based on active sites and page views. Microsoft offers plans for all business sizes. Check the Power Pages website for pricing. The subscription includes core features, security updates, and support. You can change or cancel your subscription anytime.

How much do Power Pages cost?

The cost of Power Pages varies with your project size and needed features. Prices begin with a basic plan for small businesses and increase for advanced features needed by larger operations. Fees are monthly and cover all essential functions, including security and support. You can find detailed pricing on the Power Pages website to choose the best plan for your needs and budget.

What data storage is used by Power Pages?

Power Pages uses Microsoft Dataverse for data storage. Dataverse offers a secure and scalable platform to store and manage data. It allows for integrating data from different sources, simplifying access and use on Power Pages websites. This storage solution supports efficient data handling for businesses of all sizes. With Dataverse, Power Pages sites are built on a dependable and strong data management system.

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